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The best gin bars in Edinburgh

Whether you're a juniper purist or willing to try an interesting new twist, Edinburgh is well stocked with decent gin bars. Here's where you should drink yours
graphic bar gin
An array of gin at Graphic Bar
By Niki Boyle |
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Gin is not only Edinburgh’s spirit du jour; an enthusiasm for the drink seems to have spread right across Scotland. There are now distilleries producing gin in Shetland (Shetland Reel), Caithness (Rock Rose), Speyside (Caorunn), Ayrshire (Hendrick’s), Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Pickering’s) and elsewhere. The capital is also blessed with more than a few decent places to sample various brands of mother’s ruin - in addition to the following purveyors, we'd also recommend sampling it at some of Edinburgh's best cocktail bars (or visiting one of the city's best bars in general).

Edinburgh's best gin bars

Restaurants, Scottish

56 North

icon-location-pin Old Town

There has been a café-bar on site since the 1990s but after a couple of name changes the premises settled down as 56 North back in 2008. These days gin is their unique selling point so the venue stocks types of Genever, Old Tom, barrel-aged gin and more brands than you thought existed. They also do gin masterclasses and a pop-up festival gin garden in August.

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Heads & Tales

icon-location-pin West End

‘Bar? Mini-distillery? Ah, let’s have both.’ In a city centre basement, this dapper venue made its debut in 2014. Edinburgh Gin is made here, there is a wide selection of inventive gin-based cocktails although the range of brands is not as extensive as you’d find elsewhere. Heads & Tales also does a nice line in bar bites.

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

The Jolly Botanist

icon-location-pin West End

A 2015 opening, with gimmicky ‘distressed Victoriana’ décor, this café-bar stocks over 60 brands of gin and the staff do actually know what they’re talking about. It offers a high-class pub grub menu, windows opening wide to the street and those excellent gins; it’s a great place for a refreshing summer G&T. 

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Juniper

icon-location-pin New Town

A plush hotel cocktail bar with nice views to the Old Town, Juniper appeared in 2013. It doesn’t sell itself exclusively as a gin bar but gin stars in its excellent drinks list from the simplicity of gin with a good mixer (Ophir and Fever-Tree Ginger Ale) to the inventiveness of its classic Juniper cocktail (Edinburgh Elderflower Gin, citrus vodka, orgeat syrup, kiwi, apple juice, lemon, and apple foam).

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

One Square

icon-location-pin West End

As an international hotel chain, Sheraton hardly needs an introduction. The contemporary bar-restaurant at its Edinburgh hotel however is the colourful One Square. The bar sets itself apart with an enormous range of gins – over 60 – including a bespoke One Square Gin made with the help of local distillery, Pickering’s. One Square also offers gin tastings.

Summerhall, theatre
Peter Dibdin
Art, Arts centres

The Royal Dick

icon-location-pin Newington

Occupying just part of the University of Edinburgh’s former veterinary school, the Royal Dick bar has neighbours on site that include a multifaceted arts centre (Summerhall), a craft brewery (Barney’s) and a gin distillery (Pickering’s). Although the Royal Dick – named for the old vet school – is no gin specialist it is unique because a pipe from distillery to bar means you can get Pickering’s Gin here on draught.

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